The Ant and the Grasshopper—a fable by Aesop

Robert Terson

I’ve been a fan of Aesop and his fables since childhood. The lessons to be learned from these amazing tales are poignant and invaluable. One of my favorites is “The Ant and the Grasshopper.” It’s a story about the evil of procrastination. I hope you enjoy it and find it worthy of your precious time.

In a field one summer’s day a grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. A group of ants walked by, grunting as they struggled to carry plump kernels of corn.

“Where are you going with those heavy things?” asked the grasshopper.

Without stopping, the first ant replied, “To our ant hill. This is the third kernel I’ve delivered today.”

“Why not come and sing with me,” teased the grasshopper, “instead of working so hard?” 

“We are helping to store food for the winter,” said the ant, “and think you should do the same.” 

“Winter is far away and it is a glorious day to play,” sang the grasshopper.

But the ants went on their way and continued their hard work.

The weather soon turned cold.  All the food lying in the field was covered with a thick white blanket of snow that even the grasshopper could not dig through. Soon the grasshopper found itself dying of hunger.

He staggered to the ants’ hill and saw them handing out corn from the stores they had collected in the summer. He begged them for something to eat.

“What!” cried the ants in surprise, “haven’t you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?”

“I didn’t have time to store any food,” complained the grasshopper; “I was so busy playing music that before I knew it the summer was gone.”

The ants shook their heads in disgust, turned their backs on the grasshopper and went on with their work.

Alas, this fable hits home for far too many of you. The middle leg of the sales Triangle is Work Habits (see Part III of Selling Fearlessly), and if this side of your Triangle is weak and unconnected, you’re probably among the 80% who only do 20% of the business. But why worry, right? You can always shore it up tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that, or…

Here are some of my favorite quotations re procrastination; file them away or, even better, hang them in prominent places:

Lord Chesterfield:Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

Christopher Parker:Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.

Wayne Gretzky:Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.

Victor Kiam:Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.

Mason Cooley:Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life; make good use of it!


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